Humphrey B. Bear is the star of the Australian produced pre-school children’s television show, Here’s Humphrey. The character debuted in 1965 on The Channel Niners on NWS9 in Adelaide and was soon given his own show. Here’s Humphrey was screened nationally on the Nine Network and has been shown in a number of overseas countries. The character’s popularity led to a wide range of Australian-made merchandise.
Rex Heading (1929–2010), the first program manager of NWS9, created the fun-loving, shaggy brown haired bear with a big black shiny nose who lives in a tree house in the Magic Forest. The character was first known as ‘Bear Bear’ until, after a viewer competition, he was renamed ‘Humphrey B. Bear’.
Edwin ‘Teddy’ Duryea originally played Humphrey, although his identity was never revealed. He came to resent the anonymity of the role and the uncomfortable suit.
Because Humphrey neither speaks nor wears trousers, some people consider him to be a bad example for young children. Despite these criticisms, Humphrey won a Penguin Award for Best Children’s Personality in 1982 and a Citizen of the Year Award in 1994, while Here’s Humphrey won Logie Awards for Best Children’s Television Show in 1970 and 1982.
In 2009, the Supreme Court wound up Banksia Productions, which owned the rights to Humphrey, sending him into hibernation. However, in 2012 Imagination Entertainment purchased the company’s assets and the following year Humphrey returned on community television stations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. He also has his own website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.